The one thing I have perfected as a writer is the beginning of a story—no middle or end; no inciting incident; no idea where it’s going or what it wants to be. I then squirrel it away for years, sometimes twenty. I was a completely different person twenty years ago and it is painfully obvious when I re-read the words of a twenty-something aspiring writer who never cracked open a thesaurus. It does make me appreciate how far I’ve come and am excited to say I’ve had several of my short stories published. It wouldn’t hurt to dust off The Chicago Manual of Style. Who am I kidding? I bought the laminated tri-fold. Its quality is described on Amazon—water resistant, lightweight, compact, and durable. My writing has two of those same qualities. I’ll let you be the judge.
For your reading pleasure, here are the gems I dug out of my squirrel nest. Be prepared to be underwhelmed:
- “Mitch’s enthusiasm could be seen by the blind and heard by the deaf.” Let me first apologize to the blind and deaf communities. That one is painful.
- “He would have noticed two damp towels laying on the cold bathroom floor.” Ugh, seriously? Does anyone care the bathroom floor was cold and the towels damp? Lazy.
- “Her limp, mousy hair falls straight… hanging lifeless over her shoulders.” An ellipsis has no business in this sentence. These words have no business in this sentence. What the fuck is mousy hair? So embarrassing.
- “She would rather pluck out her own eyes than let anyone see her hurt.” Uhm, that’s not how vision works. People can still see you even if you pluck out your own eyes. I want to pluck out my eyes so I can’t see this horrible writing.
- “Although she loves Chris and has allowed him to explore every curve of her body, she has not let him inside her soul. He has tried to scale them, but he always loses his footing and falls to the hard ground below. So, he stands outside of those walls and licks his wounds.” First off, I just threw up in my mouth. “Let him inside her soul?” That’s not a thing. The thought of him licking his wounds just made me throw up again.
- “Janie worked six nights a week at Heartstone Nursing Center, changing Attends and cleaning up vomit off the cold linoleum floor.” What is up with these cold floors? Heartstone? What a marketing nightmare. Do you really want your mom staying at a stone-hearted facility?
- “Even when you don’t know where you’re going, you end up somewhere, usually at a place called Regret.” I think I was trying to be deep. Did you see what I did there? Regret is the name of the town. So, so bad.
- “I went to wash my hands as to not spread germs.” That’s just the right thing to do, people! Good hygiene is everyone’s business.
- “Maggie, her legs crossed” – that’s it, folks. Not even a period or point. I didn’t even finish the sentence. The story just stops.
- “Maggie lay supine on the hospital bed with her eyes closed.” That’s a little clinical and redundant.
- “Tim kissed Maggie’s parched lips ever so gently, yet passionately enough to remind her that she was still alive. It was like an unexpected rainstorm over the desert in which the dry earth drew long awaited water to its depths.” What a sloppy, disgusting kiss! So gross, Tim! Keep your saliva to yourself.
- “As he left, the majestic pink petals of the single rose fell to the floor.” That’s ineffectually dramatic and ridiculous. What the hell are majestic petals? Get it together, Jenny.
- “His voice was small and fragile, as if the words he struggled to speak would slip from his tongue on to the cold, grey pavement.” It’s not just bathroom floors that are cold, my friends.
I leave you with this gem. “The house was a hideous gold-brown color that reminded me of baby poop.” Yep, I actually wrote that. Jealous much?